With 2020 finally behind us and COVID-19 vaccines continuing to roll out to healthcare professionals and the public, the prognosis for 2021 is cautiously optimistic. Start the new year off on the right foot by committing to these dental practice New Year’s resolutions.

Resolution 1: Bring back patients who’ve been putting it on the back burner.

One of your personal resolutions may be to follow through on a diet or fitness regimen you dropped last year. Just as with reactivating these healthy habits, the New Year is a natural time to reactivate dormant patients. In 2020, many practices saw more than the normal share of patients disappear. If you have patients who haven’t made an appointment in 18 to 36 months, it’s a snap to send them customized postcard or letters with Lighthouse 360.

At times, 2020 seemed like it went on for decades. With so much to worry about, plenty of patients have probably lost track of whether they’re due for a dental hygiene appointment.  Instead of just calling or manually sending an email, you should improve efficiency with automated recall tools to remind them it’s time for a visit. Lighthouse 360’s Automated Recall feature automatically contacts patients in their preferred format—be it text, email, phone call or postcard—when it’s time to schedule an appointment.  That saves your staff time and keeps your chairs full.

Resolution 2: Find new and efficient ways to fill last-minute cancellations.

Now more than ever, appointment cancellations are a fact of life, and you can expect them to remain high for much of 2021. Many people are still juggling chaotic schedules at work and home because of the pandemic, which is causing them to forget or cancel their dental appointments. Too many practices still take manual steps to find a new patient, or worse, they do nothing to fill that empty chair.

Instead of relying on the same manual steps to fill these gaps in your schedule, leverage new technology that make cancellations far less costly for your practice. Lighthouse 360’s Fill-in feature can ensure valuable chair time doesn’t go to waste by automatically finding last-minute cancellations, contacting the patients who are most likely to want the appointment and filling the slots. Keep your team working on high-value activities and creating the best patient experience, and let technology do the heavy lifting for you.

Resolution 3: Take ownership of your online reputation.

When seeking a new dentist, 61% of patients say they rely on online resources versus word-of-mouth referrals, and 88% of patients will go online to read reviews about a referred dentist. Despite the importance of reviews, gathering, tracking and responding to them can be very time-consuming for your busy staff. Make the change in 2021 and take total ownership of your online reputation!

Lighthouse 360 helps you boost and manage your online reputation by automatically collecting and posting reviews from satisfied patients to Google, Facebook, and other healthcare-specific directories such as Healthgrades, ZocDoc and WebMD. You can customize your feedback campaigns to focus on Google or any other major review site you like. Use Lighthouse 360’s centralized dashboard to “listen in” on what patients are saying, gain valuable insights, collect and publish reviews, and even respond directly to patients—all in one place.

Resolution 4: Create a contactless patient experience.

You’ve followed CDC guidelines regarding COVID-19, implementing new infection control measures, and using more PPE than you care to count!  As you continue to make sure your practice stays safe, consider how you can create a contactless patient experience. These patient engagement tools reduce the risks of COVID-19, and will also help you adopt a new streamlined dental experience.  We live in a world of consumer instant-gratification, where patients (and staff) expect a path of least resistance that provides them the flexibility to schedule, complete forms, and pay on their own time.  Throw away the pen and clipboard in 2021, and go contactless!

With Lighthouse 360, you can reduce patient contact by setting up a Virtual Waiting Room. Text with patients as they wait in their car, and let them know when it’s safe to enter your practice—it’s easy with Lighthouse 360’s two-way texting feature. Patients can fill out and sign health forms on their smartphones with Patient FastTrack, a paperless registration feature that can be customized to your needs. Patient FastTrack eases patients’ worries and saves your team time; it can even writeback information directly into select PMS applications. Use the COVID screener feature to send patients a last-minute text reminding them of COVID-19 symptoms and requesting they not come in if they have symptoms.  Reduce time patients must spend in the office by providing contactless payment options. With Lighthouse 360’s Online Bill Pay feature, you can text patients their billing information and have them make payments on your practice’s website.

With the help of Lighthouse 360, your dental office can handle whatever 2021 brings and make the new year a profitable one.